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03/15/2004 Archived Entry: "Trek Trek Trek"
Posted by CKL @ 12:31 PM PST

It's Trek times three on today:

'In the 23rd century universe of "Star Trek,'' people talked to each other using wireless personal communicators, had easy access to a vast database of information and spent hours gazing at a big wall-mounted video screen. On 21st century Earth, that future is already here...'

'...Cheesy props or not, "Star Trek's" futuristic sickbay tools presented a captivating vision of what medicine might one day achieve, inspiring legions of fans who later became some of the world's most inventive scientists. And in 2004, many of the high-tech instruments simulated on the "Star Trek" set are a reality, used to treat patients in hospitals and clinics around the world...'

'Before we get too cocky about our multitasking cell phones, global data networks and other gizmos that match "Star Trek's" sci-fi tools, let's remember: Most of the standard equipment on the starship Enterprise is still in the realm of "where no one has gone before." Replicators to instantly synthesize any food we want? Nope. Universal translator machines to convert any form of speech into English? Not yet. Transporter rooms to beam us to the next planet? No way. Warp Drive to speed between star systems? Fuggedaboudit. Some of these technologies are not only beyond what we can do, they're beyond what we can imagine finding a way of doing...'

(Aside: Is it inspirational or cruel that we can imagine things that are patently impossible? Imagination gives us regret as well as hope. Our dreams can be beautiful or horrific. And we can be driven mad by the absence of a thing.)

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